The Best Time to Apply for a Job Is …

By, 05/23/2014

“Sell in May and go away; come again on St. Ledger’s Day.” This seasonal adage is based on the premise that stocks historically do worse in the summer, so investors should sell out in May and return in the fall. Though a catchy rhyme, this commits a number of investing fallacies—most notably, trying to time the market based on past performance, a feat no professional investor I’m aware of can do successfully and reliably.

But debunking this fallacy also has value for those on the job hunt: namely, no “perfect” time exists to start your job hunt or submit an application. About a year and a half ago, I saw an internal posting for a position I was interested in at my company, Fisher Investments. In my opinion, I wasn’t quite ready for the role—I felt I needed more experience. However, after discussing with a mentor, I was advised to apply: the pros outweighed the cons. The worst case scenario is not getting the position. But even if you apply and don’t get it, you’ve signaled to management your interest, which could pay dividends in the future. Why take yourself out of the game? Opportunities come and go—don’t miss out on them because you’re waiting for the ideal (and arbitrary) moment.